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AT&T Archives: The First Call

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Uploaded on Aug 31, 2011

For more from the AT&T Archives, visit http://techchannel.att.com/archives

A 1930 dramatization of Alexander Graham Bell's moment of success.

This early sound film has three sections. Each has an intro or storytelling from the actual Thomas A. Watson, who recorded his sections of the film in 1926. The rest is a recreated dramatization by young actors of the moments described by Watson.

Part I:
Watson describes the famous event - the "Come here, I want you" line - and moment where the invention was made real.

Part II:
Describes a meeting at the Philadephia Convention where Bell was encouraged by Dom Pedro, the Emperor of Brasil.

Part III:
The 1915 first cross-continent call from New York to San Francisco, with Bell in the East and Watson in the West, where they reprised their famous conversation, only coast-to-coast. Watson famously added "it would take a week to get there now". It was the last time the two men were to speak.

Watson in his later years had avidly studied the theater and frequently gave dramatic lectures (and appeared in productions of Shakespeare!). His training is notable in this film, as he has an old-fashioned orator's stance and bearing, with somewhat exaggerated storytelling and gestures.

Footage courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ

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